Meade ETX 90 Telescope Review

Viewing through telescopes

Meade Instruments is another leader in the world of telescopes. According to Wikipedia, it is the largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. It boasts itself of manufacturing over 50 telescope models in different sizes, capabilities, and of course, price ranges.

One of their most popular go-to scopes is the ETX 90 series, hence, I am doing a review of Meade ETX 90EC telescope. If you are contemplating on getting it but still need a little push, then please, read along.

Basic Features

  • Focal Length : 49.2 in. (1250 mm)
  • Focal ratio : f/13.8
  • Optical Diameter : 3.5 in. (90 mm)
  • Optical Design : Maksutov Cassegrain
  • Mount : Altazimuth
  • Highest useful magnification : 325x
  • Optical coating : UHTC
  • Corrector lens : Grade A BK7

Accessories

  • Eyepieces : 1.25” Super Plössl 26mm (48x) and 9.7mm (129x)
  • Viewfinder : Red Dot
  • Dovetail : Vixen-Style
  • Hand Controller : AudioStar™
  • Object Database : 30,000 objects
  • Tripod : Full Size Steel with EQ tilt plate

Overview

This Maksutov Cassegrain promised to equal if not exceed the optical performance of any Maks with the same aperture size in the market. That’s how confident Meade is of this scope.

With a telescope weight of around 8 pounds, assembled weight of barely 19 pounds, and with a durable hand-carry case, this works well as a grab and go scope for both beginners and intermediate astronomers.

With a decent aperture size of 3.5 inches, it is very capable of viewing the moon and planets in superb clarity. To my surprise, I could even make out the Ring Nebula

It comes with two Super Plössl eyepieces; one 26mm for 48x magnification and 9.7mm for 129x magnification. But you can still up the magnification to 325x by purchasing additional eyepieces or perhaps a Barlow lens.

If you are a busy person or just can’ bring yourself to enjoy manually finding targets for viewing, consider this scope a treat.

You can do a cordless operation with its dual axis motor drive system and pushbutton electronic hand controller. The catch; you need eight AA batteries to last 40 hours operation. So you know the drill, get an external power source for an uninterrupted viewing experience.

Also includes sophisticated features such as the AudioStar, the GOTO technology, and removable OTA.

With about 30,000 object database, it is perfect for your guided celestial viewing. But it is also useful for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and target shooting.

It has a built-in flip mirror mechanism, which allows you to do a 90-degree observation of land and sky objects; viewing or observation using 45-degree erecting prism; or just take photos using the optional T-adapter and 35mm camera.

But be sure to tone down your expectation about the outcome of the photos as its mount and drive system are just not made for it but rather for tracking and slewing for viewing pleasure only.

As with any Maks, the adjustment to outside temperature tends to take a bit longer due to thicker corrector lens.

The optical coatings are made of Ultra-High Transmission Coatings in order to maximize the light transmission, ensuring the brightest images and the highest contrast.

With a focal length of 1250mm and focal ratio of f/13.8, this is ideal for more detailed lunar and planetary viewing. I used a Celestron focal reducer whenever I want a wider field of view.

I just find focusing knob really hard to maneuver especially if you are gearing towards the zenith. So if you really want to enjoy it, try getting a flex focuser or better yet, invest in an electronic focuser.

The tripod is a portable but extremely stable full-size steel. The tube assembly and mount look like they are made of high-grade quality materials by the look and feel.

Pros

  • Portable and affordable
  • Maks need little or no maintenance
  • No collimation needed
  • Good as astronomical and spotting scope
  • Accurate AutoStar GoTo computer system

Cons

  • Prone to fogging
  • A bit noisy
  • Confusing instruction manual

What's The Bottom Line?

To conclude this Meade ETX 90 review, I would highly recommend this scope for beginners and intermediate astronomers mainly because of its capabilities.

While experts could easily spot faults in this scope, this is not built for them anyway. If you have recently shifted to this from a so-so telescope, this Meade ETX 90EC would definitely be one prized find. With its superb clarity and technology, you would definitely be enjoying this in the years to come.

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